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Klapetek, Anna; Jonikaitis, Donatas; Deubel, Heiner (2016): Attention allocation before antisaccades. In: Journal of Vision, Vol. 16, No. 1, 11


In the present study, we investigated the distribution of attention before antisaccades. We used a dual task paradigm, in which participants made prosaccades or antisaccades and discriminated the orientation of a visual probe shown at the saccade goal, the visual cue location (antisaccade condition), or a neutral location. Moreover, participants indicated whether they had made a correct antisaccade or an erroneous prosaccade. We observed that, while spatial attention in the prosaccade task was allocated only to the saccade goal, attention in the antisaccade task was allocated both to the cued location and to the antisaccade goal. This suggests parallel attentional selection of the cued and antisaccade locations. We further observed that in error trials-in which participants made an incorrect prosaccade instead of an antisaccade-spatial attention was biased towards the prosaccade goal. These erroneous prosaccades were mostly unnoticed and were often followed by corrective antisaccades with very short latencies (<100 ms). Data from error trials therefore provide further evidence for the parallel programming of the reflexive prosaccade to the cue and the antisaccade to the intended location. Taken together, our results suggest that attention allocation and saccade goal selection in the antisaccade task are mediated by a common competitive process.